Jul 04, 2022
Human rights advocates on Monday derided the Biden administration's assertion that Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was "likely"--but unintentionally--killed by an Israeli soldier, with one group accusing the U.S. State Department of complicity in a "whitewash" of the reporter's death.
"You can't determine intent or the lack of it from a bullet."
In a statement released on the July 4 holiday, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that "independent, third-party examiners... could not reach a definitive conclusion regarding the origin" of the "badly damaged" bullet that fatally struck the 51-year-old Al Jazeera correspondent in the face as she covered an Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank on May 11.
The U.S. Security Coordinator concluded that while Israeli fire "was likely responsible for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh," it "found no reason to believe that this was intentional, but rather the result of tragic circumstances" that occurred during a military operation against Palestinian militants.
In response to the U.S. statement the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said, "As far as Israel is concerned, its policy regarding the killing of Palestinians has never been anything other than an organized whitewashmeant to enable the continuation of the killings with impunity, and it is no different when it comes to a U.S. citizen as in the current case."
"The odds that those responsible for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh will be held to account are all but nonexistent," the group added. "Meanwhile, Israel's international impunity remains unchallenged."
\u201c\u201cU.S. officials have concluded that gunfire from Israeli positions likely killed journalist Shireen Abu Akleh but that there was \u201cno reason to believe\u201d her shooting was intentional, the State Department said.\u201d\n\nWell you can\u2019t determine intent or the lack of it from a bullet.\u201d— Hamdi (@Hamdi) 1656944439
Israeli officials initially blamed Palestinian militants for killing Abu Akleh. However, separate investigations by United Nations officials, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Associated Press, CNN, Bellingcat, and B'Tselem all concluded that she was shot by an Israeli soldier.
Abu Akleh's colleague Ali Sammoudi, who was also shot during the incident but survived, toldHaaretz that the U.S. statement "is yet another proof that the United States can't be trusted with anything that has to do with the Palestinians."
"I was there personally and witnessed the whole thing," he added. "There was no one there apart from the Israeli force, and they were the ones who shot at us."
\u201cDisgusting. The US has fully partnered with Israel to cover up the latter's responsibility for the willful killing of Shireen Abu Akleh, even justifying it by citing that it followed a series of "terror" attacks in Israel. https://t.co/Dh2iI6r6Ef\u201d— Maureen Murphy (@Maureen Murphy) 1656944276
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate claimed Abu Akleh was the 86th journalist to be killed while covering Israeli operations in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem since the territories were illegally occupied in 1967.
We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.
We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.
Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.